Getting up early on a Sunday morning is bad enough without driving through torrential rain so bad that cars were pulling over and thunder and lightning that was shaking the truck! I was waiting for the phone to start ringing with participants dropping out left right and centre but luckily for me the Cornish lot are a hardy bunch and battled through the elements to attend the YDP workshop. Thankfully the weather was much more July like at the venue and a good day was had by all.
Andrew & Janet Reynolds from the Nanterrow Herd at Connor Downs were kind enough to agree to host the workshop this year. It’s not the biggest herd and do a bit of showing but it was a big ask of them to have us take over their farm – luckily they are extremely laid back and so are the cattle so we had a very enjoyable day.
8 young people joined us and we ended up with twice as many adults as participants! It was great that YDP Chairman Mark Pilcher could join us along with SW Club Chairman Lisa Frain.
Trainers for the day were Roger Pascoe, a freelance stockman with years of experience and has the best tips to give away. We’re very lucky these days that grooming products and feed companies do an awful lot for us but in Roger’s day the unique tips stockmen had were the key to winning the prizes. James Neale also joined the training team. James and his family run the Nealford Limousin & Angus herds and have had lots of success over the years and although not as many years as Roger he still has picked up some great tips. A new comer for 2015 was Nigel Bunkum, usually better known for his commercial showing, Nigel undertook the stock judging for this workshop.
We started the day splitting into 2 groups, Roger did the washing – and he was the first one to make washing a really important workshop, as well as the halter changing & the knot tying. James did the clipping, giving everyone the low down on assessing your animal before you start and knowing where to clip and where to leave the hair and all the youngsters got to have a go. Everyone moved onto stockjudging – Nigel gave an explanation of what to look for in a beef breeding animal and also explained how knowing the confirmation of an animal should help with selection for showing as well as help to know how to clip & dress it.
The only shower of rain we had was when we had lunch and it finished in time for us to start the afternoon sessions. Which started with dressing – James ran through the different products and how they should be used and Roger & James gave some expert advice to help the participants dress a beast.
Ring craft tips fell to Roger and think this was the most entertaining ring craft seminar I have heard in 5 years, he said all the things that the professional showers do that keep them a step ahead of the crowd. Everyone got to have a go at showing and did very well – the cattle hadn’t been trained to a stick and it’s quite interesting to see how many attempt to place the feet and it’s surprising what you can do without a stick.
Throughout the day the youngsters were assessed by the assessor Andrew Hughes, firstly this can give some feedback as to how they might improve in the future and also to score the kids to pick our finalists. The final line up will not be known until after the last workshop on the 16th August. Having these assessors has made the final selection fairer as the same people judge all participants throughout the year and has certainly helped get all the workshops to the same format. I am very grateful to all the volunteers who help out at the workshops either hosting or training but these assessors (Andrew Hughes, Marie Louise Ryan, Bert Taylor & Michael Kirby) give up far more time to make sure at least one of them is at every workshop.
Another great workshop with thanks going to Andrew & Janet Reynolds, Roger Pascoe, James Neale, Nigel Bunkum & Andrew Hughes.
Next workshop will be the first of the Republic of Ireland workshops so let’s hope the sunshine reaches the emerald Isle before the end of July.